Do you believe extraterrestrial life exists?
If someone discovered a formula that would enable us to live forever, would that be a blessing or a curse?
When I was five I told my best friend that I was an extraterrestrial sent to earth to observe humanity, and genuinely believed it at that time. Sometimes I still do.
I believe that the universe is vast enough that it must accommodate extraterrestrial life. I believe that our understanding of space is very limited but nothing is infinite. The truth is that our little universe is a dust mote encased in a small box, buried on a shelf inside an alien equivalent of Walmart which lies on a giant planet inside another giant universe which is much like ours only everyone talks like they are from New Jersey. One day the box will be found and crushed, and none of this will matter. Until then we dance.
If you could be the only person on earth who does live forever would you want to? I am often surprised by the views of friends on this idea. I would choose to live forever. I live for art, and more time to live allows more time to make art and to experience it, connecting in new profound ways with the sea of humanity. Living forever would mean watching the people you know die, but so does life when you think about it.
However this prompt is different because it allows everyone to live forever, sounds more like the launching point of a science fiction narrative. The progression of this story would depend upon the type of person who discovers this formula, the functional nature of this immortality and the interaction this immortality would have with popular culture. Have you ever seen "Death Becomes Her"? A lot of my fictional work is about immortality really, and that movie presents one type.
Imagine this -
A young scientist working alone in his basement discovers a way to cause living cells to maintain their shape, to never stop reproducing. He tests this formula on animals at first and finds they cannot be killed, they heal in time from any wound. He uses this formula on himself and on his family. He uses the formula on a sick relative who does not die either. The relative wants to save their wife who is dying and the wife is saved and lives forever. Then their son gets cancer and the formula is used on him as well.
In that fashion the immortal humans expands until word gets out about the source of this formula to the public. The public storm the scientists lab, carrying off the formula and inciting a media frenzy. Public demands for immorality become too much and a corporation forces the scientist to allow them to market it. If the immortals can still reproduce the global population will expand unchecked, eventually paralyzing or destroying life on earth and ending the immortality. In time gravity would in time affect skin on people, making them look like Ed Asner or those wrinkled dogs with no hair and eventually smearing their faces to their feat. Still, if given the shot I would take the formula and go along for the ride. How about you?